Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Looking Back Doesn't Mean Never Having Left

July 24, 2015

This is a milestone year for me--I've got my 30th high school reunion coming up shortly.  In addition, the high school where I teach is getting ready to host its 20th reunion for the first graduating class of our school--a class of students I taught when I was in my second year of teaching.  I'm very much looking forward to both of these reunions and the chance it will give me to reconnect with people I have not seen in a very, very long time.

There are several people who graduated with me who I remain close with and see on a regular basis still.  Similarly, there are students from that first graduating class of my current school with whom I have kept in close contact over the years.  Then there are folks I see only online, mostly through the world of Facebook.  These are people with whom I might not have been especially close, or for whom geography plays a role in the fact that I haven't seen them in real life much, but they are people I like to interact with and celebrate life's successes with.  There are also many people I haven't connected with at all over the years for whatever reason, but I'd be thrilled to see them at a reunion and see where their life's path has taken them.

Some people feel that high school reunions are all but obsolete in the days in which it's as easy as a click on an internet search to know whatever-happened-to-him/her, and I can understand that mindset to an extent, but nothing is the same as the good old fashioned face-to-face conversation a reunion provides.  The thing that is really amazing to me though, is the number of people who think that going to a high school reunion means you are stuck in the past--a stereotypical jock or cheerleader artificially trying to recreate and relive the glory days.  There are people who deem themselves as somehow 'above' the desire to meet up with old acquaintances because they feel if there was any reason to associate with them now, they'd never have lost touch to begin with. There are actually lots of films that deal with this very theme.  I find that a little weird, though, honestly.  Sure, there are people you might meet up with at a reunion that you didn't like before and you still wouldn't necessarily hang out with on a regular basis. But what's the harm in finding yourself in a room with a couple of those folks and wishing them well and then moving on your merry way?  I focus more on the fact that we have all traveled divergent paths and have grown and changed through all of our varied experiences.  I mean, I'm not the same person I was 30 years ago--I don't know anybody who is.  We've all (or at least most of us) grown up. Why on earth would I deprive myself of the opportunity to get to know people who could have become pretty great folks for fear of running into one or two who didn't?  Do we do that in regular, every day life, too?  I can't meet anybody else new, because one of them might not be nice?  Not me, man. I, for one, am looking forward to meeting some old acquaintances anew, and who knows--maybe finding some new friends.

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